Nazarenes assist in disaster relief in Nepal

Nazarenes assist in disaster relief in Nepal





EURASIA REGION - The devastation in Nepal is tremendous following last month's earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people. Two weeks after the initial quake, a second earthquake of similar force - above a 7.0 magnitude - again rattled the South Asian country.


A group of about 20 local pastors, volunteers and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries staff have formed a disaster response team. After the initial earthquake on April 25, they visited the Tindhara village (pictured above), where all 223 homes were destroyed and 34 people died. After working with village members to assess the need, the team brought three truckloads of rice, oil and salt to the village - enough to feed the 1,200 residents for a month.


The response team's method is to first ask villagers what their greatest needs are, and then to mobilize them to be a part of the distribution efforts, said Eurasia Region Communications Coordinator Gina Pottenger, who traveled to Nepal after the earthquake.


One of the greatest needs is for sturdy shelter. People are living in temporary shelters made from tarps, branches and scrap metal that they pulled from the rubble, Pottenger said. Nepal's monsoon season is nearing, and the makeshift homes won't protect residents from rain.





After the second earthquake hit on May 12 - followed by at least 17 strong aftershocks - officials in Nepal warned people to leave damaged buildings. With a shortage of tarps and tents, thousands of people are sleeping outside, according to The Associated Press.


"Today was a hard day because many pastors called me," Nepal District Superintendent Dilli said the day of the second earthquake. "People are scared. They are scared to sleep in their houses."


Donations to NCM will help provide for ongoing needs, including tents and blankets. Click here to give.





The need across Nepal is vast, and NCM is only one of many relief organizations trying to help, Pottenger said. But more than that, local residents - who themselves have gone through trauma - are reaching out to help their neighbors.


One family shared the tent they received from the military with six other families, she said. People who had salvaged rice from their homes shared it with their neighbors who had no food.


"Even though they didn't know when more food was coming - if more food was coming - they didn't hoard what they had, but they shared it with other people," she said.





As a global Church body, we hope to support the relief efforts in Nepal through prayers and giving. There are approximately 8,000 Nazarenes in Nepal and 300 churches and preaching points.


To learn more about the Nazarene Church's disaster response in Nepal and to make a donation, visit the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries response page. You may also find news updates about the situation on the Eurasia Region's website.


-By Holly Beech, editor, Out of Africa. Photos by Gina Pottenger.